OCEAN CITY – One of Ocean City’s most iconic Boardwalk performers received a key to the city this week.
On Friday, the Mayor and Council honored Norman Webb, known by many as “Boardwalk Elvis,” for his years of entertainment to Ocean City’s residents and visitors.
In the 1960s, Webb began his entertainment career by walking along the Boardwalk with his boom box in tow. His local claim to fame, and his moniker, however, came about in the early 1970s, when he began to dress like Elvis Presley and play Elvis music.
While he is now retired from his Boardwalk-performing days, visitors and residents still recognize Webb. His Facebook page, for example, has amassed more than 5,000 followers.
Councilman Wayne Hartman said one of his fondest summer memories was of Boardwalk Elvis.
“As a kid – I’m 50 years old now – one of my memories of Ocean City always included Boardwalk Elvis,” he said, “a true legend to Ocean City.”
Hartman said the day’s recognition was an effort spurred by the resort’s business community.
“Talking with some of the business owners, we were talking about not seeing Elvis as much as we have. He’s in our hearts and we haven’t seen him on the Boardwalk,” he said. “That’s when the business owners decided that we need to bring Elvis back here on the Boardwalk and recognize everything he has done for Ocean City.”
To that end, several local leaders, residents and visitors on Friday joined underneath the Boardwalk Arch on North Division Street to honor Webb.
Mayor Rick Meehan, a self-proclaimed Boardwalk Elvis fan, said his earliest memories of Webb were from the 1960s, while working at the Funcade on 9th Street.
“Every day he would come in and he’d have pictures taken in the photo booth …,” he said. “Then there would be girls waiting to get the pictures. He was quite the ladies’ man.”
Meehan, who for years had collected some of those photo booth pictures, said many of the images can now be seen at the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum.
“These pictures are on display down at the Life-Saving Museum on the second floor,” he said. “They tell the history of Norman J. Webb as he grew into Boardwalk Elvis in 1971.”
Meehan pointed to the large crowds that had gathered to see Webb on Friday.
“So many people are here, Norman, that remember you in the 60s …,” he said, “and there’s a lot of people that remember you from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s. One time I told you, you had become a Boardwalk icon, and you truly have.”
Meehan thanked Webb for his years of entertainment to Ocean City.
“I want to thank you for spending all of those hours upon hours up on the Boardwalk,” he said. “I know you’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”
Following speeches, the Mayor and Council presented Webb with a key to the city and proclaimed May 25, 2018, as Norman J. Webb Day in Ocean City.
“Everybody loves you,” Meehan said. “You’ve brought something to Ocean City that will always be remembered. It’s part of our past, and hopefully it will be remembered in our future.”